DrumBeat: March 5, 2007
Posted by Leanan on March 5, 2007 - 9:59am
Oil prices set new records and the industry maintained a historically high level of activity in 2006. Energy agencies issued consensus forecasts that production would rise. Yet crude oil production was down and total liquids production was flat. The economists should be shaking in their boots.
Atmospheric scientists have uncovered fresh evidence to support the hotly debated theory that global warming has contributed to the emergence of stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.
The future of coal-fired power plants is seen so tied up by legal challenges from green groups, that it could slow, or even thwart, plans to use America's abundant coal supplies to generate its growing electricity needs.
Nearly five million Chinese are unable to get enough drinking water because of a series of droughts caused by "abnormally high" temperatures, state media said Sunday.
Crucially in a nation which still relies on agriculture for the majority of its people, the drought is also cutting off sufficient water supplies for 2.5 million livestock, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The economics of biofuels are debatable, but regardless of the economics, alternative fuel has one overriding appeal: If we make enough of the stuff, we can tell OPEC and characters like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez to take their oil and stuff it.
The government awarded $385 million in grants last week aimed at jumpstarting ethanol production from nontraditional sources like wood chips, switchgrass and citrus peels. What's surprising is that half of the six projects chosen will use a process first discovered almost a century ago to turn coal into a gas.
It faces strong opposition, companies reluctant to get involved, and corruption – and may be contested as invalid.
Within the last decade, technology advances have made it possible to unlock more oil from old fields, and, at the same time, higher oil prices have made it economical for companies to go after reserves that are harder to reach. With plenty of oil still left in familiar locations, forecasts that the world’s reserves are drying out have given way to predictions that more oil can be found than ever before.
Brazil Accused of Getting Biofuel with Slave Labor: Full Tanks at the expense of Empty Stomachs
One of the main concerns is with working conditions in farms. And this includes the use of indigenous labor which, particularly in sugarcane plantations, often faces conditions similar to slavery: low pay, no safety, long months away from their villages and homes.
The Greenhouse Policy Coalition, whose members include Fonterra, New Zealand Steel, Solid Energy and Vector, commissioned a report from economic consultancy ACIL Tasman that found renewable generation is already competitive with or below the cost of coal and gas generation.
Some specialists argue that even if western firms will withdraw from Venezuela, this state will be able to find an alternative and, as such, will be open to Russian companies. Thus, since 2004 the Russian company LUKOIL plans to invest in the economy of the country about one billion USA dollars. Then from the end of 2006, the company started a joint drill with the national company of the country in one of the oil fields.
The ethanol industry has been linked with air and water pollution on an epic scale, along with deforestation in both the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests, as well as the wholesale destruction of Brazil's unique savannah land.
Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping are double those of aviation and increasing at an alarming rate which will have a serious impact on global warming, according to research by the industry and European academics.
Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson and other conservative Christian leaders are calling for the National Association of Evangelicals to silence or fire an official who has urged evangelicals to take global warming seriously.
How hot is it? So hot that Inuit people around the Arctic Circle are using air conditioners for the first time. And running out of the hard-packed snow they need to build igloos. And falling through melting ice when they hunt.
The question now is what to do about global warming. This is a political problem more than a scientific one. The solutions (if we can agree on any) will require political will and imagination -- and also pain. That was my only reservation about the Oscar night celebration of Al Gore's leadership on this issue. The gowns and black ties and the celebrity back-slapping made it look like dealing with global warming will be fun, a walk down the red carpet. But it's more likely to be about catastrophe and how to share the pain.
Dr. Taury Smith, New York State Museum geologist, will discuss the past, present and future of oil production, the concept of peak oil and the issues surrounding this controversial topic in "Peak Oil: The End of Life as We Know It?" at noon Thursday in the Carole F. Huxley Theater of the state Museum. Admission is free.
Knowingly or not, Britain’s North Sea geologists may have deceived their nation. Britain is no longer energy self-sufficient and, contrary to forecasts and models, oil and gas production has dropped precipitously.
Germany has a strategy to take good care of British energy security. But should Britons be concerned about placing too much reliance upon their former enemy?
This meeting, to whose closing ceremony on Tuesday will be attended by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, means to formalize several accords still implemented, the minister told Prensa Latina.
Rapaccioli recalled that as part of those agreements, Nicaragua has already received 32 electricity generating plants from Venezuela, eight of them already producing 15 megawatts to the national electric power system.
The federal Conservative government won't find a way to allow Ontario truckers to fill up temporarily with off-road diesel until the fuel supply disruption in that province settles.
At a press conference in Victoria following a meeting of the country’s energy ministers, federal minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn said Ottawa would not grant the Ontario Trucking Association's request of making available non-ULSD fuel (still used in off-road and rail) to the highway truckers in Ontario, which has been plagued with a province-wide fuel shortage since the middle of February.
Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg says a private member’s bill calling for B.C. to regulate gas prices could backfire on drivers and cause a province-wide fuel shortage.
: China will close its dirtiest steel mills as it steps up efforts to rein in surging energy use and clean up environmental damage caused by its economic boom, Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday.
"We will take strong measures to save energy, lower energy consumption, protect the environment" and use limited farmland more effectively, the premier said.
The international conference convened in Baghdad for March 10 represents an important first step to finding a lasting solution to the chaos of Iraq since the US invasion four years ago. But if the Middle East can summon the political will to deal with this situation will this not cause a fall in the oil price?